Paternity Law: Legal Advice for Single Mothers

Raising children is a great responsibility, especially if you’re a single mother. If you are a single mother, you need to know you have rights that protect you. 

Paternity law governs your situation as a single mother, protecting you and your children.  

Paternity is a word that means father. The law itself helps mothers determine the father of a child through genetic testing. Testing protects the mother’s dignity if a man denies he helped father a child. 

The law also helps children establish a legal relationship with their fathers.

Being a single mother can be challenging. Learn the laws surrounding your situation and get the help you need for you and your child.

Know the Rules of Unmarried Law in Paternity Law

Marriage plays an important role when it comes down to the custody of the kids. The paternal parent has more stake in the fights. 

In unwed situations, the father’s rights do not trump the mother’s. At birth, the child gets nursed and nurtured by the mother immediately. The law respects that bond and immediate rights go to the mother as birth. 

These rights reverse if the mother turns out to be an immediate danger to the child.


Mothers need to only worry about custody if there are legal documents from the courts challenging it. Other than that, she doesn’t have to fret about her children getting taken away from her.

States do have laws that prevent a mother from leaving the state if the father resides there. Beware of that, especially if you are an unwed, single mother. The father has a right to be in the child’s life as well. 

Raising Your Children

The law doesn’t require single mothers to raise their children by their handbooks. You have the right to raise your child or children as you please.

If your style of parenting harms the child or puts the child in danger, that’s a different story. The father can take paternity action. Otherwise, you have the right to parent as you see fit.

If the father isn’t in the picture, you can raise your child in any location or region you desire.

Child Support

As a single mother, you have the right to request child support from the paternal parent. Child support is where the state legally forces the father to give you monetary help for a child. 

It’s not automatic, so if you want it, you have to file for it. If you don’t want it, you’re not obligated to request it. Keep in mind some states go after the father for restitution if you get government assistance. 

Know Your Rights

Don’t sit in fear worrying if the paternity law takes away your rights. It doesn’t. Study these tips and your state’s laws and raise your children without stress.

Need more legal tips like this? Check out our law guide for up-to-date information on laws and legal matters.